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The first serious suggestion that the Archean atmosphere was reducing was based on the interpretation of round uraninite and pyrite grains in the Witwatersrand Basin in the early 1950s. It was then inferred that these minerals were detrital and that they reflected equilibrium with a reducing Archean atmosphere.

Over the past 20 years the understanding of the Witwatersrand Basin has changed dramatically with more integrated studies of the basin and the recognition of widespread alteration in close spatial association with the mineralization in every goldfield. Post-depositional mobility of gold, sulfur, and uranium during alteration is widespread and supports hydrothermal ore...

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